Yuma Must Return Patient's Marijuana After Losing Case in U.S. Supreme Court

Categories: Medical Weed

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Image: supremecourt.gov
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot told the media last summer that returning marijuana to a medicinal user was "not how we do business."

But Wilmot did not return calls or even issue a statement this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court decided -- by its inaction -- that Wilmot must give the pot back to the patient.

With the decision to turn down the Yuma case for a hearing, the U.S. Supreme Court has sided squarely with the state's medical-marijuana law.

See also:
-Border Patrol Checkpoints Near Yuma Nab Hordes of Pot Users
-Zander Welton Wins Arizona Medical-Marijuana Extracts Case

Apparently, the High Court may not believe what right-wing prohibitionists have been saying -- that the federal Controlled Substances Act invalidates state laws like the voter-approved one in Arizona.

Perhaps Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery ought to re-evaluate his policy of spending taxpayer money on endless appeals of local court cases that have upheld the Arizona law. Just as Sheriff Wilmot lost this case in state appeals court, Montgomery's been losing important cases on the issue, such as the former county ban on dispensaries in unincorporated areas, and the Zander Welton case on concentrates.

Previous U.S. Supreme Court cases, most notably the 2005 landmark case of Gonzales v. Raich that backed the federal prohibition on growing marijuana despite the freedoms given under California state law. But with this ruling, reportedly similar to California case the High Court declined to hear in 2008, the Supreme Court appears to give Arizona's medical-pot legalization law its blessing.

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Photo illustration: Ray Stern
Yuma Sheriff Leon Wilmot doesn't want to let go of Valerie Okun's bag of weed. Today's U.S. Supreme Court opinion should change his mind.
The Obama Administration, as you'll recall, decided last summer that it would not fight states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.

The Yuma case began after California patient Valerie Okun's car was stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint and was discovered to be in possession of about three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis.

As New Times reported in 2008, Yuma County has a convenient, money-making arrangement with the Border Patrol. While Yuma nor any other local authority in Arizona cannot set up a drug-sniffing dog checkpoint, the Border Patrol employs canines to look for large loads of drugs and illegal immigrants. The feds don't want to handle the many cases of average folks driving through the checkpoint with a little bit of marijuana, but Yuma County has been more than willing to prosecute offenders who don't have a medical card.

Okun proved she was a legal user under Arizona law, which recognizes medical-marijuana approvals from other states, but she was forced to sue when the Sheriff Wilmot refused to return her weed. The Arizona Supreme Court backed up Okun, but Wilmot continued to use taxpayer money to keep appealing. This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, meaning Okun wins.

Sheriff Wilmot wasn't the only one to fail to return our call this morning. We also haven't heard back yet from Okun's Yuma lawyer, Michael Donovan, who was reportedly in a meeting and couldn't come to the phone, or from Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Ramona Sanchez. We'll let you know if any of them call back, or if the Yuma Sheriff releases a statement about when he's going to give Okun her two-year-old bag of pot back.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.


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67 comments
luv2purple
luv2purple

Leon Wilmot speaks with forked tongue!     Talks out of both sides of his arse too....   in one breath he IGNORES the LAW he swore to uphold due to his OPINION about the supremecy clause.   But then he goes all in for obeying Az laws on gun control.   This man is NOT a law ENFORCEMENT officer - he is a clown who has been withholding MEDICINE from a sick patient!    IMPEACHMENT.....CONTEMPT.....   How does this guy think anyone else should have respect for the law when he thumbs his nose at the law and the voters?

pedro.dalion
pedro.dalion

I smell punitive damages and it ain't pretty Prohibitionist Wilmot. Taking medicine from a patient? HOW DARE YOU! Then drag your idiocy to the Supreme Court, only to be ignored.  You are an endangered species who will be laughed out of a job for being such a lunkhead. Did you think you would overturn the people's vote with your little scam. 

Safer Arizona
Safer Arizona

He should give it back with interest and for psychological trauma caused by the incident itself as well as interrupting a medical patents access to their medication as guaranteed by the AMMA

Michael Dean
Michael Dean

Hey people its against federal law. He can be arrested. Take a moment and think of the issue! He's trying to solve an issue rather than put it off for the next county to deal with.

Bruce Salvage
Bruce Salvage

Is that the actual sheriff in the picture? Who does he think he is,Teddy Roosevelt??

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

you would think that the Supreme Court would hold him in contempt and send U.S. Marshalls after him with a warrant to lock him up until the MMJ was returned. But actually, MMJ, like any medicine, has a shelf life, which is probably expired and is no longer beneficial to use. He must return to the person the price of which she purchased for, plus restitution.

Paul Chris Wilmann
Paul Chris Wilmann

Man I see Maricopa is not the only county in AZ. that spends its money foolishly.

Zac Brandt
Zac Brandt

He should be in prison for stealing from and kidnapping an innocent person

Ten Bears
Ten Bears

yepp plus pay a fine of 1 million dollars of personal money!!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... take the 4:20 to Yuma !


James Duke
James Duke

Just give up back Tex! This isn't the Wild West anymore! Don't be an ass!!! You know damn well you smoke!!!!

Rudy Rambo
Rudy Rambo

This is old. The sheriff illegally took a ca patients meds and is refusing to give em back...prolly because the "lost" em

Cheryl Perez
Cheryl Perez

depends on hong long they kept it because legal marijuana can get moldy and that can be life threatening to the patient, if not the amout in dollar payment for the marijuana.

Lori Sander Boucher
Lori Sander Boucher

Doesn't matter how many times AZ ppl have voted to legalize MMJ, the a$sbackward ppl controlling the state won't allow it!

Brandon Doyle
Brandon Doyle

Yep, ..he should give him a little "I'm sorry" kiss on the forehead too upon delivery.

azlefty
azlefty

Sadly all of you ignorant losers seem to ignore what Wilmot did FOR YOU!


Up until this ruling and the subsequent appeals there has been no clarification regarding local law enforcement returning seized property when that property is illegal under federal law,  Wilmot was advised that if he returned it that he,his officer and the department could be held liable under Federal law for distribution of a controlled substance, hence the  civil suit to determne this.


Now there is a ruling that states that if you are legitimately medicating under state law your pot can be returned to you; additionally it also shields the  Agency and its employees from being charged under Federal law for doing so.

This was not a waste of money since now we have legal decisions that not only protect MMJ users but the  LEO agencies as well, additionally it gives MMJ users extra ammo when the  Flaccid Fool, his Pinal county skinhead boy-toy or Monty Poodle try to tell a MMJ user "TFB we are keeping it."


As for the  Picture of Sheriff Wilmot, that was taken at a car show where he was displaying his Model A pick up that was restored as a police vehicle, hence the "tombstone" type costume.

Will Passinault
Will Passinault

yoooo Leon ......give it back, smoke a bowl with the patient and faaaakin relax...you didnt catch Billy the Kid

Donna Niemann
Donna Niemann

Another embarrassment...yeesch sometimes I don't know why I live in Arizona

Timothy D Little
Timothy D Little

More Arizona flakes trying to play politics and use our tax dollars to force personal values on the life's of Arizona citizens.

Manny Rodriguez
Manny Rodriguez

He should replace it. It's probably stale and moldy by now.

Nathan Schneider
Nathan Schneider

Time to legalize this stuff and drag Arizona back into reality, where common sense dictates policy.

Bryce Wilson
Bryce Wilson

Start an Arizona activists Org in fave of medication and patients rights there of. Get involved

shadeaux
shadeaux

If he doesn't return it, he should be charged with theft and considering the cost of 3/4 oz., it could even rise to the level of felony theft.

Morgan Glassco
Morgan Glassco

They should give her cash value plus additional for time and energy

Kody Ray
Kody Ray

And pull the court costs out of his salary.

Fred Sotelo Jr
Fred Sotelo Jr

Hell yeah! And if it went skunky, he should have to sell one of his sheep/f buddies to replace the weed!!

luv2purple
luv2purple

NO - YOU are WRONG!!!   That's exactly what the Sheriff was FALSELY claiming and the Arizona Supreme Court and US Supreme Courts both agreed.     Sheriff Wilmot is DISOBEYING the LAW - DISOBEYING a COURT ORDER - and ABUSING his office.     He is withholding MEDICINE from a sick patient.   He should be ashamed of himself, should be held in CONTEMPT of court,  and he should be SUED for damages too.     How does this clown expect the citizens of the state to respect him if he does not follow the law???

jetdoc1
jetdoc1

@azlefty That may be true...  but that was NOT his intention in fighting this.  It is NOT Montgomery's intention, nor is it Sheila Polk's intention to clarify the legal "protections" for LEO's.  It was their sole intention to obtain a ruling.  ANY ruling, that would possibly subvert or give question to the AMMA laws legality.  It's disingenuous at best to infer that Sheriff Wilfred Brimley, Bill Montgomery, Sheila Polk, Sheriff Joe, Boy Toy Babeu, etc's... intent was in all actuality, trying to HELP Medical Marijuana patients and clarify their rights as a patient.  If that were the case, Monty wouldn't be wasting so many taxpayer dollars.  He'd have just taken the lower courts ruling.  Instead he's playing semantics the likes of what Bill Clinton played...  "... it depends on what the meaning of the word IS, is."  That's why the Judge finally got the dictionary out and used it in her ruling to explain the meanings of basic words in the AMMA to Mr. Montgomery.  However, I think Monty's last words were... "... we're going to appeal the Judges decision to the Supreme Court."  Translation: I don't give a fuck what this judge says, I'm BOUND and DETERMINED to overturn this law.  I PROMISE that as long as I'm in office, this law will NEVER go forward unchallenged at every turn!

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